estrich

Susan Estrich

I could not make this up. Who would want to? Having behaved like a normal president might on Monday, condemning racism by the Klan and white nationalists, Donald Trump could not restrain himself.

In an angry exchange with reporters on Tuesday, he refused to acknowledge the gross insensitivity of his remarks Saturday and in fact returned to weekend form: blaming "both sides" for the violence and the murder of an innocent woman during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee," our embarrassment of a president said. "So this week it's Robert E. Lee. ... I wonder: Is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?" Trump said. "You know, you really do have to ask yourself: Where does it stop?"

Where does it stop?

It will not stop as long as Donald Trump is in the White House.

This is, increasingly, the only question that matters. Reince Priebus is gone. The president now has a highly qualified chief of staff. It doesn't matter. The architect of the Trump campaign's "alt-right" strategy, Steve Bannon, is supposedly on his way out. It doesn't matter. That wasn't Bannon talking on Saturday, and it certainly wasn't Bannon at the podium on Tuesday. Virtually every Republican in Washington had taken aim at the president for his senseless, stupid, and offensive remarks on Saturday. His chief of staff condemned the violent racism. So did his vice president.

Did Trump listen? He did not. He does not.

One day he threatens nuclear war. The next day he refuses to condemn the neo-Nazis, and attacks those corporate leaders -- including the widely respected CEO of Merck -- who have had the courage to distance themselves from the most irresponsible and hateful president of modern times.

His party is appalled. Corporate America is appalled. His own daughter, a religious Jew, must be appalled beyond words.

Donald Trump doesn't care. The white racists were chanting anti-Semitic slogans, and Donald Trump's grandchildren are Jewish. He doesn't care.

What can be done? No new adviser will tame him. No change of staff will matter. A Jewish son-in-law doesn't matter. Only one thing can be done.

He must be impeached.

Impeachment is a political process, not a legal one. It requires political action, not legal action. So long as Republicans control the House, the president calculates that he is safe.

The conventional wisdom holds that politics is local, that incumbents win congressional elections and that the math favors the Republicans. All true.

But this is not a conventional year. The only thing that matters is electing enough Democrats (and Republicans who are committed to impeaching Trump, if there are any, and how can there not be by that point) to vote the man out of office.

Never has an individual so totally unsuited to be president ever occupied that position. Never. Richard Nixon was the man of the year compared to this man.

So what do we do? How do the tweets stop? How do we restore some vestige of unity to this country? How do we teach our kids to respect each other, if the president has no respect for anyone?

We show them that democracy works. We turn the midterm election into a referendum on impeaching the man who doesn't deserve to be president.

We raise what it takes. We support the candidates with the best chance of winning. We place ideological purity second. At this point, one thing matters to me in a candidate: Will he or she vote to impeach Trump? If the answer is no, nothing else matters. If the answer is yes, that candidate has my support.

Simple but incredibly difficult -- difficult, but there's no other choice. If not now, when? If this is not enough, what will be?

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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